Resources on poetry by the poets themselves

Three Wise Old Women


Three wise old women were they, were they,
Who went to walk on a winter day:
One carried a basket to hold some berries,
One carried a ladder to climb for cherries,
The third, and she was the wisest one,
Carried a fan to keep off the sun.

But they went so far, and they went so fast,
They quite forgot their way at last,
So one of the wise women cried in a fright,
“Suppose we should meet a bear tonight!
Suppose he should eat me!” “And me!!” “And me!!!”
“What is to be done?” cried all the three.

“Dear, dear!” said one, “we’ll climb a tree,
There out of the way of the bears we’ll be.”
But there wasn’t a tree for miles around;
They were too frightened to stay on the ground,
So they climbed their ladder up to the top,
And sat there screaming “We’ll drop! We’ll drop!”

But the wind was strong as the wind could be,
And blew their ladder right out to sea;
So the three wise women were all afloat
In a leaky ladder instead of a boat,
And every time the waves rolled in,
Of course the poor things were wet to the skin.

Then they took their basket, the water to bale,
They put up their fan instead of a sail:
But what became of the wise women then,
Whether they ever sailed home again,
Whether they saw any bears, or no,
You must find out, for I don’t know.


Classroom Tip: This gorgeously ludicrous poem is perfect for dramatising with a small group of suitable girls!